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dent of the belief, or the expectation, and turns on the completion only. Then, indeed, the Jew sees that his belief was well founded, and the Gentile admits that the prediction was divine.

The mistake would be equal, on the other hand, to conceive, that the argument from prophecy pre-supposes the divine inspiration of the New Testament. It pre-supposes only the historical truth of that book. Admit this, and compare the events recorded in that history, with the prophecies to which they correspond, and the divinity of both Testaments is proved. For then, the pretensions of Jesus are made good, by the completion of the prophecies ; and the inspiration of the prophets is concluded, from the delivery of them.

In both cases (let me repeat it) it is not the authority of the books containing the prophecies, nor of the books recording the facts in which they are fulfilled, but simply the completion of the prophecies in those facts, seen and acknowledged, which infers the divinity of either Testament. Even the Jew would retract his high opinion of the prophecies, if he did not admit or expect the accomplishment of them; and the Christian would renounce his

SERMON faith in Jesus, if his history did not accord to

the prophecies, alledged.

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'Tis true, that, with either, the argument would gain more attention, than with such as professed no previous belief in the divinity of the Old or New Testament. But its force is reaHy the same, on both suppositions. It lies merely in the conviction, which one hath from the evidence produced, that certain' prophetic passages were delivered in the Old Testament, and have been fulfilled by certain corresponding events, related in the New.


On the whole, there is no reason to conclude, that we are not as good judges of the argument from prophecy, as the Jews were ór, that this argument ought to have the less weight with us, because the Jews were not convinced by it. For the argument doth in no degree depend on faith, but is calculated to produce it." "It is equally strong, or equally weak, to a Christian, or "Jew, or even to an unbeliever : the sole point in "question being this, Whether such things," as "weré proplietically delivered, appear to have been fulfilled! a point, on which common sense and common honesty will equally decide on every suppoa sition.

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I know, indeed, that, unless we suppose the SERMON inspiration of the prophets, some passages, delivered by them, will not so probably be thought to intend Christ, as they will be, if we acknowledge that principle: and, on the other hand, that there are some circumstances in the history of Jesus, which will not be so readily seen to refer to preceding prophecies, if the inspiration of Jesus and his Apostles be not previously admitted. But I do not argue, at present, from either of these topics. There are passages enough, clearly predictive of the Messiah, and clearly accomplished in him, to afford a solid foundation for the argument from prophecy, as here instituted, without looking out for any other of more nice and ambiguous interpretation.

Hence we see the dangerous mistake of those, who contend that the argument from prophecy hath not, of itself, the nature of a direct positive proof of our religion. Prophecies fulfilled, I mean such prophecies as those in question, prove invincibly the divine inspiration of the prophets. But, if the prophets were inspired, the divine mission of him, in whom the predicted marks of the Messiah meet, must needs be acknowledged. And what more. is required to prove the truth of Christianity?

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SERMON Not even the evidence of miracles, performed

by Christ, if the prophecies had not made them one mark of his character. The truth is, Prophecies and Miracles are, in themselves, two distinct positive proofs. Either proof is direct, and would have been sufficient, if the other had not been given. But the divine goodness, for our more abundant satisfaction, and to leave infidelity without excuse, hath made the one proof dependent on the other: so that neither the argument from prophecy is complete, without the miracles ; nor the argument from miracles, as applied to Christ, unless he likewise appear to have fulfilled the prophecies. Can we desire a stronger proof, that neither they, who predicted the miracles, were false prophets, nor he, who claimed to himself the application of all the prophecies, was a false Messiah?

These reflexions, on the method and order of the prophecies, of those especially concerning Christ's First COMING ; together with what has been said on the independency of this argument on Jewish or Christian concessions ; may serve to convince us, That we shall do well to suspend our conclusions concerning the evidence of prophecy, till we have examined the whole subject. In the mean time, this



part of the subject, thus far opened and explained, leads us, with advantage, to the consideration of that, which is yet behind and is the peculiar object of this Lecture, I mean the prophecies concerning CHRIST'S SECOND



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